Utah Senator Mitt Romney not-so-artfully avoided NBC reporter Alison King’s line of questioning Monday when she asked if he felt President Donald Trump’s Twitter rant urging four Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to other countries was racist.
Trump faced blowback over a series of tweets he sent out on Sunday aimed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, who were all born in America, and Ilhan Omar, a child refugee who emigrated from Somalia when she was 12-years-old. Omar is now an American citizen.
Trump didn’t retract any of his statements. He dug in his heels even further on Monday when he accused the four women of “hating our country.” He also suggested that Omar, one of the first two Muslims elected to Congress, sympathized with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, according to TheNew York Times.
The 2012 GOP presidential nominee was asked to react to the president’s statements. He then seemed to suggest to King that the president may have had a point.
“I certainly feel a number of these new members of Congress have views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with building a strong America,” he said, according to a tweet from King.
When the Boston reporter asked directly if he thought the tirade was racist, Romney ended the exchange with “that’s all I got, thanks.”
.@MittRomney on Trump calling for 4 congresswoman to go back to their countries of origin? “I certainly feel a number of these new members of Congress have views that are not consistent with my experience and not consistent with building a strong America.” More @NBC10Boston 5pm pic.twitter.com/3tZ4DtCuvW
— Alison King NBC10 Boston (@AlisonNBCBoston) July 15, 2019
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Romney later issued a statement in a Twitter thread calling the president’s comments “destructive, demeaning, and disunifying.”
The president’s comments were destructive, demeaning, and disunifying. The President of the United States has a unique and noble calling to unite the American people – of all different races, colors, and national origins. In that respect, the president failed badly.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 15, 2019
Twitter quickly reacted to Romney’s weak statements. His lack of action was derided as cowardly.
Mitt Romney is the Jeff Flake of Embarrassingly Spineless Invertebrates. pic.twitter.com/PN9gN0gPvd
— Jamie O'Grady ???? (@JamieOGrady) July 15, 2019
Some pointed out that the Senator has an African American grandchild, and should be ashamed for not standing up against racism.
Imagine having a black grandchild, as @MittRomney does, and being too much of a coward to call out over racism.
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) July 15, 2019
Many Twitter users pointed out that he needs to speak out against Trump for the sake of the reputation of his party.
Words are great @MittRomney, but this means nothing if, once again, you fail to stand up to him & put a stop to what he is doing to this country. It really has to come from Senate Republicans. The Democrats can't do it alone without you and he is, after all, your creature. https://t.co/h6H7Vmm1zX
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 15, 2019
And, doing what Twitter does best, some users dug up all of the pictures of Trump and Romney together.
nobody could have predicted mitt romney would be a spineless weasel for trump, besides anyone who has ever heard of mitt romney pic.twitter.com/Q3wThoX7zn
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 15, 2019
On Monday, Pressley, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib spoke out publicly against the president’s tweets.
The women, collectively known as “The Squad,” took to a press conference to point out the Trump administration’s flawed immigration policies and to highlight past comments the president has made about women, black athletes and neo-Nazi protesters. The Congresswomen then called for Trump’s impeachment, according to NBC News.
WATCH: "No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you," AOC tells children in U.S. #MTPDaily
"We'll stay focused on our agenda. And we won't get caught slippin'." pic.twitter.com/EuZ4epdCOe
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) July 15, 2019
According to the Associated Press, House Democrats are planning a vote sometime this week on a formal resolution that “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments.”